Will Muhyiddin survive?


  Yesterday afternoon, two speculations were rife. First, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin would resign under pressure from his allies. Second, de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan and Attorney-General (AG) Idrus Harun, who were named in the royal rebuke, or even the embattled speaker Azhar Azizan Harun, may resign to take the blame.

  The speculations were reasonably grounded because the royal rebuke which hit the floor of Parliament yesterday was direct and stern. With the backing of 114 MPs (excluding Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah) in the best scenario, but more likely less than 110, the government is most fragile.

  Surprisingly, in a detailed reply to the royal rebuke, the government underlined the constitutional principle that the constitutional monarch should act according to the advice of the prime minister on most matters including the emergency.

  Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob rallied behind him claiming that Perikatan Nasional (PN) still commanded a simple majority with more than 110 votes amongst the Parliaments current 220 members.

  Muhyiddin has responded like former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad except he does not have the same stature and strength which the latter had in 1982 and 1993. But will Muhyiddin survive?

  To better answer this question, we should assess the likelihood of these three scenarios: Muhyiddin surviving till the 15th general election (GE15); Muhyiddin being replaced by a member of his cabinet; and Muhyiddin being replaced by an opposition leader.

  Brewing two-in-one constitutional crises

  Many have characterised the latest development as…

  The ringgit opened higher against the US dollar on Friday as trading of the greenback remained sideways over the United States (US) weaker-than-expected economic data, a dealer said.

  USDMYR Chart

  At 9.02 am, the ringgit rose to 4.2350/2400 versus the greenback from Thursday's close of 4.2360/2410.

  ActivTrades trader Dyogenes Rodrigues Diniz said although the US dollar has managed to regain some grounds, trading remained sideways as the US gross domestic product (GDP) data came in below expectations at 6.5 per cent versus the forecasted 8.5 per cent.

  The fact that the GDP came in well below expectations raises questions about the efficiency of the monetary policies adopted by the US Federal Reserve (US Fed) so far, with the American central bank trying to kick-start the economy at the cost of higher inflation.

  “The million-dollar question now is whether the US Fed needs to increase the stimulus, and how far can it safely go without jeopardising the purchasing power of the American consumer because of inflation,” he said.

  Meanwhile, at the opening bell, the local note was traded mixed against a basket of major currencies.

  The ringgit strengthened against the Singapore dollar to 3.1275/1315 from 3.1285/1324 at yesterday's close and appreciated against the British pound to 5.9066/9135 from 5.9092/9162 previously.

  However, the local unit weakened vis-a-vis the euro to 5.0316/0375 from 5.0294/0353 and depreciated against the Japanese yen to 3.8648/8697 from 3.8562/8611 previously.


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